Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it,
and many nations shall come and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.Micah 4:1-4
The prophet Micah was a younger contemporary – perhaps even a disciple – of the prophet Isaiah. Like Isaiah his mission and ministry were in the southern kingdom of Judah in the late eighth century BCE. Unlike Isaiah, who was of the priestly elite of Jerusalem, Micah came from a small village in the countryside. He identified with the poor of the land, those who bore the burdens of the privileged and well-off. The rich, he said, were like cannibals feeding off “the flesh of my people.”
The northern kingdom of Israel had fallen to Assyria. Micah warned that the same fate awaited Judah. In another departure from Isaiah, he would not spare Jerusalem itself from the heat of divine judgment to come. And yet what God sought from Judah was correction and not destruction. Micah proclaimed the preservation of a saving remnant from which a new nation, new life, a new beginning would emerge. There would be a lasting era of peace and justice. War would be no more. Justice would reign. The God who once brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt would see to it.
Micah’s message is as relevant today as it was in his lifetime. It is up to us to heed his message and be part of God’s saving plan.
From Our Prayers of the People
For the special needs and concerns of our congregation.
We remember people throughout the world: in places of war and strife, especially refugees and all victims of violence and oppression.
For the just and proper use of your creation: for the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.
For comfort and healing for all who are affected by the Coronavirus: for physicians, nurses, and all others who minister to the sick and the suffering, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.
For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety.
For all historical acts of injustice and oppression: especially those perpetuated against native, Black, Hispanic and various Asian Americans in this abundant land, that we may recognize racism in ourselves, in our church, in our society, and the times we have failed to take action.
For those on the Parish Prayer Chain: Cindi, Doug, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, June, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Donald K., Craig, Donald, Maureen, Joseph .
For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn.
Our Government Leaders: Donald Trump, President of the United States; Joseph Biden, President-elect of the United States; Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State; Gary McCarthy, Mayor of Schenectady.
Our Church Leaders: Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, William Love, and Daniel Herzog our bishops; James and Dennie our priests; Pat our deacon emeritus and Allison our Lay Reader.
Those who are imprisoned: those particularly vulnerable at this time, especially the women in the Schenectady County Jail.
Members who request our prayers for strength and healing: Tom, Budd, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Sittwe (Myanmar), Eha – Amufu (Nigeria).
For all who have died: Albert, George, Fred, Frances, Helen.
For one another.
Christmas Is Waiting to be Born
Where refugees seek deliverance that never comes
And the heart consumes itself as if it would live,
Where children age before their time
And life wears down the edges of the mind,
Where the old man sits with mind grown cold,
While bones and sinew, blood and cell, go slowly down to death,
Where fear companions each day’s life,
And Perfect Love seems long delayed.
CHRISTMAS IS WAITING TO BE BORN:
In you, in me, in all mankind.
– Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas & Other Celebrations (1985)
Something to share
“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?Micah 6:6-8
News and Updates
DOUBLE YOUR GIFTS FOR LIFE: All gifts matched until 12/31. Choose one gift — or even several — from our Gifts for Life catalog today to send on behalf of a friend or family member. Each item comes with a holiday-themed e-card or printed card, so you can tell your loved ones all about the life-changing gifts made in their honor.
Your gift will also have DOUBLE the impact, thanks to a special Year-End Match Challenge!
· GIFT #1: GOAT – Give a family a stable source of food and earnings. $80 FOR 1 GOAT
· GIFT #2: MICRO-CREDIT LOANS FOR WOMEN – Give a woman the tools to succeed. $200 FOR 1 MICRO-CREDIT LOAN
· GIFT #3: COVID-19 RELIEF KIT – Give communities the resources they need to respond to the pandemic. $45 PER KIT
· GIFT #4: NURTURE & NOURISH THE EARLIEST LEARNERS – Build a foundation for lifelong health and learning. $15 FOR EACH CHILD
· GIFT #5: CLEAN WATER – provide a child with life’s most basic necessity. $35 PER PERSON
Share a Christmas Picture – Since Christmas is going to look very different this year from most Christmas’ past, many of us may not get a chance to see each other. We want to find a way to stay connected with one another and “see” each other, in some capacity, at the holidays. If you would like to participate please send a picture and a brief description (including name(s)) of one of the following:
· Yourself or your family getting ready for Christmas
· A special decoration that you’ve put up
· A Christmas tradition
· Any other creative ideas preparing for Christmas
Pictures and descriptions can be sent to Office@St-Stephens.Church and should be received by 12/13.
If you have an update/news, a prayer or poem or something inspirational you would like us to share with the congregation, please send it to us. Please also send us any prayer requests. We will incorporate these into the Morning Prayers as best we can: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each morning. Join Dennie and me for an inter-active service of Morning Prayer at 9 am. Time to bring your prayer concerns will be provided. (contact Becky for the link: email@example.com).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will make sure you have your own Book of Common Prayer.
Our church campus is only partially open due to the current pandemic. Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. Most other parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice.
Our new office email is: email@example.com.
Our goal is for all of us to stay in touch and connected in this time of isolation.
Share this news, and spread some love, not the virus!
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be at your back,
May the sun shine upon your face,
he rains fall soft upon soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Be of good courage. We are in this together, and we will be together again soon. God bless you and may God be with us in the days ahead.